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Inter-State Council in India

Inter-State Council in India

Constitutional Provisions

  • According to Article 263 of the Indian Constitution, an Inter-State Council (ISC) may be constituted “if it seems to the President at any time that the public interests would be served by the creation of a Council”.
  • It was set up in 1990 through a presidential ordinance for the first time as per the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission under the Ministry of Home affairs.

Objective: The Council is basically meant to serve as a forum for discussions among various governments.

Sarkaria Commission: In 1988, the Commission suggested the Council should exist as a permanent body, and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.

Composition of the Inter State Council

  • Inter State Council headed by Prime Minister, as its Chairman
  • Chief Ministers of all States Members
  • Chief Ministers of Union Territories having a Legislative Assembly and Administrators of UTs not having a Legislative Assembly and Governors of States under President’s Rule.
  • Six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister Members
  • Four Ministers of Cabinet rank as Permanent invitees Members

Functions of Inter-State Council

  • Inter-State Council is a recommendatory body with duties to investigate and discuss the subjects of common interest between the Union and State(s) or among the States. Making recommendations particularly for better coordination of policy and action on these subjects and deliberating upon such other matters of general interest to the States which may be refer to it by its Chairman.
  • Making suggestions on any such subject, for the better coordination of policy and action with respect to that subject

Issues with Inter-State Council

  • The Council has met only once in the last six years and there has been no meeting since July 2016.
  • Since its constitution in 1990, the body has met only 11 times, although its procedure states it should meet at least three times every year.
  • In 2016, the meeting includes consideration of the Punchhi Commission’s recommendations on Centre-State Relations. That were published in 2010

Current Status of Inter-State Council

  • The Council reconstituted recently by the Government of India
  • Headed by the PM, the Council will comprise six Union ministers, besides the Chief Ministers of the 28 states and UTs with a legislature, and administrators of UTs without a legislature.
  • It will also have 10 Union ministers as permanent invitees.
  • The government has also reconstituted the standing committee of the Council, with Union Home Minister as it chairman.


The Inter-State Council has only summoned 12 times since it was founded in 1990, which is a sobering fact. After a ten-year break between the 10th meeting in 2006 and the 11th meeting in 2016, the council reconvened in November 2017. The Inter-State Council must first establish a regular meeting schedule if it is to become the main body for settling inter-state disputes.

Read Also: Recommendations On Centre-State Relations

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